Oriental honey buzzard

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The Oriental honey buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) belongs to the family Accipitridae.
The Oriental honey buzzard species is distributed in Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Philippines and Indonesia.

Taxonomy of Oriental honey buzzard

  • Scientific Name: Pernis ptilorhynchus
  • Common Name: Oriental honey buzzard
  • French: BondrĂ©e orientale; German: Schopfwespenbussard; Spanish: Abejero oriental;
  • Other names: Crested honey buzzard; Pernis ptilorhyncus; Pernis ptilorynchus;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Temminck, 1821

Pernis ptilorhynchus (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously listed as P. ptilorhyncus. It is closely related to P. apivorus. The six recognized subspecies are: P. p. orientalis Taczanowski, 1891, P. p. ruficollis Lesson, 1830, P. p. torquatus Lesson, 1830, P. p. ptilorhynchus (Temminck, 1821), P. p. philippensis Mayr, 1939 and P. p. palawanensis Stresemann, 1940.

Indian birds - Image of Oriental honey buzzard - Pernis ptilorhynchus
Indian birds - Image of Oriental honey buzzard - Pernis ptilorhynchus



The Oriental honey buzzard is medium sized bird of prey. The male buzzard is smaller than the female. The male measures, 50 to 70 cm in length and weighs 750 to 1,300 grams. The female weighs 950 to 1,500 grams. The wingspan is 110 to 160 cm. The male buzzard is long-necked with a small blue-grey head with short head crest. The tail is long and darker with a white band. The back is brown and the underparts are paler. The female has brown head. It occasionally makes high-pitched whistling sound.


These Oriental buzzard species inhabit woodlands of various climatic types. They prefer broad-leaved forests.

Feeding habits

The Oriental honey buzzard birds feed on the larvae of bees and wasps. These buzzards also feed on bees, wasps and cicadas. They have been observed eating bits of honeycomb and honey.


The breeding season of these Oriental buzzard species starts from March in South India. In the northern ranges it is during the summer months. The availability of feed is also a factor for breeding. These buzzard species construct nests in the forks of trees. The mating display includes wing-clapping.


The buzzard subspecies P. p. orientalis is distributed in Siberia, Kazakhstan, China, Japan, Korea, Philippines and Indonesia.

The subspecies P. p. ruficollis is distributed in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Malaysia and Thailand. The subspecies P. p. torquatus is distributed in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The subspecies P. p. ptilorhynchus occurs in Java. The subspecies P. p. philippensis occurs in Philippines. The subspecies P. p. palawanensis occurs West Philippines.

Movement Patterns

The Oriental honey buzzard in the northern regions is migratory, arriving at the breeding grounds in the north in April and May and leaving again between August and October. The buzzard populations in the south are sedentary.

Status and conservation

The global population of Oriental honey buzzard is estimated to number 100,000 to 1,000,000 individual birds. This species has an extremely large range and is not vulnerable. Degradation of habitats and felling trees are major threats to its survival.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these buzzard species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Pernis ptilorhynchus
Species:P. ptilorhynchus
Binomial name:Pernis ptilorhynchus
Distribution:Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Philippines and Indonesia;
Feeding habits:bees and wasps, in particular their larvae, bits of comb and honey;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oriental_Honey-buzzard_(Male)_I_IMG_9740.jpg
Image Author: J.M.Garg | Image License: cc-by-sa-3.0
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